Handling Delayed Flights
Nothing can dampen your excitement about your trip quite like a delayed flight. And what makes it worse is that there is nothing that anyone can do about it at the time.
You can however claim for compensation on your return, click here to see details.
From snowfall in spring and thunderstorms, to computer malfunctions and the occasional volcanic eruption; there is an abundance of reasons why your flight may be delayed and you have simply no choice but to make the most of it.
Now, airports are not exactly renowned for being exciting places with a plethora of interesting options for you while away your time but there are tips and tricks to surviving your flight delay with your sanity still intact.
Keeping the boredom at bay
We know that once you have checked in at the airport that you are somewhat limited as to where you can go and what you can do but that doesn’t mean you need to just sit in boredom. Take a stroll through the terminal and browse through the shops.
You don’t need to spend any money, just window shop through the boutiques and meander through duty free. If you do have any spare cash or last bits of foreign currency on you then why not treat yourself to some duty free bubbly or a bottle of perfume. Alternatively, you can pick up at last minute gift for Aunty Gladys, or whoever else you forgot to grab something for whilst actually on your holiday.
You probably didn’t expect to be stuck in the airport but you may as well make the most of it. Find a boutique offering free massages and let them rub the tension from your body.
The ladies amongst you can always take advantage of the make-up counter in duty free where there is almost always an over-zealous sales person ready and willing to try out a whole new look on you to convince you to buy some products.Of course, you aren’t obliged to buy anything but you do get to come away with a glam makeover for free.
There is nothing more mind-numbingly boring than just sitting, waiting for your flight, staring in to space. Get up and go for a walk to stretch your legs or strike up a conversation with the person next to you. There are all sorts of different people in airports and you may end up making a friend for life as you bond over your shared annoyance at your delayed flight.
These suggestions may seem pretty obvious and things you might do anyway, but if you get it into your head that you are not going to clock watch all the time and make it your mission to entertain yourself then you will definately find the time passes much quicker.
Take advantage of the extra time to grab something to eat
Airplane food is renowned for being bland and generally not worth the money. It can be a tough choice between the stale sandwich, soggy wrap or miniscule bag of nuts but when you’re stuck several thousands of miles in the air; beggars can’t be choosers. If your flight is delayed then take this opportunity to grab some real food before boarding.
Pretty much every airport in the UK has somewhere you can grab a bite to eat of some description. You may decide on a sandwich from somewhere like WH Smith or Costa or perhaps a burger from Burger King. You will find an outlet of these shops and eateries in almost every airport in the UK.
However, if you can afford it and feel so inclined, you can really treat yourself and find one of the gourmet eateries which are nestled away in some of the UK’s largest airports. At Heathrow you will find The Tin Goose in Terminal 1 serving real ales and gastro cuisine.
Also at Heathrow, you can really go all out and stop at the Caviar House and Prunier Seafood Bar. These pop up restaurants can be found in Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5 and offer a decadent pit stop for those delayed travellers who fancy making the most of their late flight.
If you have a little spare money you don’t mind spending then you can choose to wait for your delayed flight in one of the many airport lounges found in UK airports. Usually, you would book your time in an airport lounge but you can often pay on the day for entry with prices starting at as little as £14.95.
Now you may think that this is a lot but when you take in to consideration the cost of getting something to eat in the airport, buying a paper or magazine and then trying to get comfy on one of the those hard metal seats, if you can get a seat at all, £15 doesn’t seem that much at all.
Once you are in an airport lounge you can benefit from free drinks and snacks as well as free Wi-Fi, newspapers and most tempting of all, comfort while you wait for your flight to finally begin boarding.
If you are traveling with children and your flight is delayed, splashing out on going in to an airport lounge may be an absolute saving grace. Instead of your kids charging around or fighting with each other out of boredom, they can while away the wait playing computer games, watching TV or playing pool in an airport lounge.
The No1 Lounge at Stanstead, for example, has a dedicated games room to entertain the children while you relax with a glass of wine and something to read.
As with anything, you can really go to the extreme with airport lounges. If you have the cash then you can find yourself enjoying a massage, having a spa treatment or instructing a personal shopper. Airport lounges with these kind of benefits do come at a price and you may be looking at prices of £100 and upwards to get in but if you can afford it, is definitely the best way to spend unexpected time at an airport thanks to a flight delay.
Frequent traveller may feel like they spend half their lives in airports but even they do not know of some of the hidden gems to be found in airports. For example, Heathrow airport has the Be Relax Spa tucked away in Terminal 5 where you can get anything from a manicure to a full body Thai massage.
You can get to Terminal 5 once you have gone through security so if your flight is delayed you may think about popping over and relaxing in style. Other airports also have spas and gyms which can be taken advantage of if you find yourself unexpectedly having time on your hands. Of course, if you don’t have the spare cash for a massage or manicure, you could always buy some nail polish from Boots and do your own holiday nails while you wait.
Take advantage of the time to yourself
If you are looking at long flight delays then don’t despair. Take this opportunity to get stuck into a good book or use the airport’s Wi-Fi to clean out your email inbox or search the internet for things to do at your destination when you finally arrive. If you haven’t bought a book with you then you will find a book store in most terminals for you to browse.
If you have no spare money then just sneakily read whilst in the store, as long as you don’t mind standing up anyway. You may also use this time to charge any electrical devices such as a phone or tablet so that you don’t run out of battery mid-flight. You will often find dedicate charging stations such as the one at The Hub at Heathrow which benefit from free Wi-Fi and charging ports for any device. Alternatively, camp out by the nearest plug socket in the terminal!
Flight cancelled or delayed for a very long time?
Imagine just finding out that you're going to be stuck at the airport for a long time, maybe your flight has been cancelled and your next available one is the next day. Don't despair, we know of a really handy piece of kit perfect for situations like this!
It's called the Delay Pod and it's basically a small pod which allows you to go to sleep and get a bit of relative privacy. We wrote a blog post about it we liked it that much. Click here to read the post.
Try and have a bit of fun
If things are looking dire and you’ve eaten all you can eat, read as much as your brain will allow and browsed every shop and still the sense of boredom is beginning to drive you insane then it’s time to invent some games. Find a travel blog online, such as this written by a gap year student, and attempt to complete each challenge.
Make it your mission to touch every gate or take photos with your fellow stranded passengers. If you are traveling with friends you can create a competition or if you are alone, you can imagine other passengers back stories and then find out how accurate you were.
People watching is a favourite of ours. People come in all shapes and sizes, some are really smart, some look as if they've just woken up, some are in a mad rush, whereas others look as if they don't have a care in the world! Just sit yourself down in a busy area and watch all these people come and go.
The thing to remember when your flight is delayed is that no amount of shouting at staff or complaining to others or getting annoyed and cranky will change anything. Everyone will be as fed up as you are but that’s not going to get the plane in the air any faster. So, make the most of the extra time in the airport; treat yourself or someone else, stuff your face with food or just go to one the many airport pubs and have a pint.
Remember to be nice to the airline staff, as it’s really not their fault. Make the most of the airport facilities and you will be boarding your plane sooner than you think.
Get paid for your delay
Fancy getting compensated as a result of being delayed or cancelled. There is a really helpful website which will help you to claim as much as £500 if you were delayed. The compensation applies to both adults and children, so whole families can claim.
To qualify to claim compensation:
1. You must have flown into or out of the UK in the last 6 years.
2. Experienced a delay of 3 hours or more or had your flight cancelled.
3. The delay or cancellation must not have been due to weather or a strike.
Consumer magazine ‘Which?’ recently carried out a survey which found that over 900,000 people each year are eligible to claim up to £500 per passenger in compensation for flights that were either cancelled or delayed by 3 hours or more.
Remarkably, their survey also discovered that only 10% of passengers ever make a claim.
If you think you may have a claim for a delayed flight, we recommend that you contact FairPlane who are experts in recovering compensation for airline passengers.
With FairPlane there is no legal risk to you and no upfront costs. If your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay a penny.